Your West Midlands Wedding - June/July (Issue 80)

JUN/JUL 2022 HONEYMOONS, BEAUTY, FASHION, GROOMS, EXPERT ADVICE, FREEBIES AND MORE £3.55 WIN! A two-night stay in the Lake District Glorious honeymoon destinations Once upon a time Dramatic wedding dress trends Come away with me Dare to be different Historic venues 80 edition th


19 REGULARS 6 EDITOR’S LETTER What to look out for in this issue 9 NEARLYWED NEWS Catch up on the latest from around the West Midlands 11 FREEBIES & OFFERS Great giveaways and discounts up for grabs 47 HOT TOPIC Our experts answer your questions 67 COMPETITION Win a two-night stay in the Lake District, worth £1,500 CONTENTS JUNE/JULY 2022 VENUES 13 SPOTLIGHT ON SUTTON COLDFIELD, LICHFIELD, TAMWORTH & NORTH BIRMINGHAM Discover some of the best venues in the area 19 ONCE UPON A TIME Tie the knot in a historic venue FEATURES 43 DELECTABLE DELIGHTS The latest cake trends 51 GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN Be inspired by these pre-wedding photos taken at Bank House Hotel, Spa and Golf Club 54 WHERE DOES THE TIME GO? County Wedding Magazines’ senior editor, Melissa Barker, shares her wedding planning journey 57 BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL Inspired by bold hues, this stunning styled shoot took place at The Stratford Park Hotel & Golf Club 61 DARE TO BE DIFFERENT Dramatic wedding dress trends Cover look This issue’s cover is from Rebecca and Huw’s beautiful wedding. It was photographed by Emily Robinson Photography ( at Sandon Hall ( Turn to page 25 to see more from their big day. 61 3

REAL WEDDINGS 25 STEP INTO SPRING Rebecca and Huw had a seasonal wedding at Sandon Hall 30 A DREAMY DAY Catherine and Chris tied the knot surrounded by friends and family at Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat 37 NATURAL ROMANCE Danii and Andrzej celebrated their big day at Cider Mill Barns FASHION & BEAUTY 64 BEAUTY BUZZ Beauty editor Kelly Andrews reveals all the latest must-haves for the bride-to-be 66 TRESSES TO IMPRESS Whatever challenges your hair throws at you, there’s a product to help you conquer all and we’ve put some of them to the test 72 FASHION FOCUS Fashion editor Claire Ridley reveals her latest bridal fashion news, buys and launches 73 THE FINER DETAILS This season’s wedding dresses are boasting statement straps that will never go out of fashion 78 HONEYMOON LUST-HAVES These bold pieces are suitcase essentials 79 CITY GIRL New wedding start-up business P.S. Bridal has collaborated with a team of talented suppliers to create this fashionable shoot 82 FASHION & BEAUTY Q&A Local professionals solve your problems 30 37 25 HONEYMOONS 84 HONEYMOON NEWS Travel editor Melissa Barker reveals new openings and honeymoon essentials 86 A ROMANTIC ESCAPE Melissa Barker reveals why Mauritius is the perfect honeymoon destination 88 ESCAPE TO THE FOREST Sarah Gallivan discovers the great outdoors at Nottinghamshire’s Sherwood Hideaway GROOMS 69 GROOMS’ NEWS Grooms editor Melissa Barker reveals the latest best buys and product launches 70 HUE COMPLETE ME Pastel hues are a popular trend for spring and summer nuptials 4

Country house wedding chic? Barn or festival? Rustic woodland with hotel comforts?... We’ve got it all! Our fabulous spaces at Wroxeter and the Farm will all be on display along with packages to suit most budgets. Come along and meet the team. Dreaming of a white wedding? We can’t guarantee snow but we can promise you a unique dream winter wedding now with up to 50% off on selected remaining dates in 2022! Including weekend dates and Christmas holidays. T I P I S | HOT E L | BARN OPEN DAY Sunday 17th July 2022 12pm - 4pm ALL THREE VENUES The Wroxeter Hotel | Wroxeter | Shrewsbury | SY5 6PH | 01743 761256 | 50% OFF Contact us today for more information and dates….

It dawned on me a few weeks ago that this is my final issue before I become a married woman – it still feels weird saying that! Our July 2022 wedding is just around the corner, and I don’t know where the time has gone. I’ve just had my final dress fitting, my hair and make-up trial and confirmed all the last-minute details but I still feel like I’m forgetting something! My partner and I are planning to sit down together at the end of the month and iron out all the small details so we can spend the next few weeks relaxing. We were finally able to notice this month, which was a big relief. Our local registry office is still overwhelmed by the backlog caused by the pandemic and is only taking bookings for weddings three months in advance, so we’ve had to wait until now to book our appointment, but thankfully it all went well. If you’re due to tie the knot soon, keep checking your council’s website for availability, as appointments are hard to come by. This issue, to help you on your planning journey, we’ve put together showstopping features focusing on cakes and bridal boutiques. We’re also looking at venues in Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield, Tamworth & North Birmingham, the latest fashion trends and must-see honeymoon destinations. You can submit your wedding or styled shoot at or Melissa x Melissa Barker, Senior Editor WIN a two-night stay in the Lake District worth £1,500! Catherine and Chris celebrated their big day at Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat. 30 67 79 37 P.S. Bridal has collaborated with a team of talented suppliers to create this fashionable shoot. Danii and Andrzej had a forest-themed wedding at Cider Mill Barns. Where does the time go? 6 ISSN 1759-4723 EDITORIAL 01376 535 611 Melissa Barker| Senior Editor, Grooms and Travel Editor Danielle Harvey | Managing Editor Kelly Andrews | Deputy Managing Editor and Beauty Editor Claire Ridley | Fashion Editor DESIGN 01376 535 616 Graphic Designers | Sarah Hill Stephanie Hodder | Vicky O’Connor Production Assistant | Lorna Butcher Digital Marketing Coordinator Katie Laley Web Development Manager Stuart Weatherley ADVERTISING Sales & Events Director Sarah Ellis | 01376 538 490 Account Manager Christopher Meer | 01376 538 558 Subscriptions 01376 514 000 ACCOUNTS 01376 535 616 Accounting Manager | Derrick James Your West Midlands Wedding is solely owned, published and designed by KD Media Publishing. Whilst every effort was made to ensure the information in this magazine was correct at the time of going to press, the publishers cannot accept legal responsibility for any errors or omissions, nor can they accept responsibility for advert content, or of the standing of advertisers or by the editorial contributions. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher. Your West Midlands Wedding is published six times a year. Subscription rates are £17.60 per annum (incl. p+p). Cheques should be made out to KD Media Publishing and sent to Your West Midlands Wedding, c/o KD Media Publishing, Pantile House, Newlands Drive, Witham, Essex CM8 2AP. Visit us online at and DIA SHING NTS SHING EVENTS & PUBLISHING cwe COUNTY WEDDING EVENTS @CountyWeddingMagazines @CountyWeddings @cwm_wedding

73 86 70 54 19 25 51 Find out why sunny Mauritius is the perfect honeymoon destination. Be inspired by these pre-wedding photos taken at Bank House Hotel, Spa and Golf Club. Whether oneshoulder, illusion styles, off-theshoulder or barely there, this season’s wedding dresses are boasting statement straps that will never go out of fashion. Read all about my wedding planning journey. Pastel hues are a popular trend for spring and summer nuptials. Tie the knot in a historic setting. Rebecca and Huw had a seasonal wedding at Sandon Hall. EDITOR’S LETTER 7

Weddings at Bennetts Willow Barn Here at Bennetts Willow Barn we offer our couples the chance to have a fun and relaxed wedding celebration, with as much or as little formality and tradition as you feel suits you. We really are a wedding venue with a difference, and you won’t find another one like us! Celebrate the first day of your new lives together with an epic wedding celebration that you and your guests will remember forever. Eat, drink and be merry in the romantic, rustic charm of our unique and spectacular yurt marquee. Play games and enjoy Pimms and Prosecco in the surrounding grounds, and after dusk toast marshmallows around the fire pit. Then dance the night away in our enchanted fairy light-filled rustic party barn. Manor Farm, Malvern Road, Lower Wick, Worcester WR2 4BS | |

All the latest from around the West Midlands SWEET DREAMS Barnutopia Glamping & Venue has made several enhancements to its beautiful facilities including new yurt accommodation. The owner, Katrina Boydon, tells us more: “Our biggest project did not start until late February. Storms forced a decision to replace our large canvas Mongolian yurt with a new wooden structure. We wanted to retain the essential yurt features and create a light, airy space in keeping with Barnutopia’s eclectic collection of wooden octayurts, cabins, stable and bunkhouse. We chose warm orange for the beams to add Barnutopia’s signature splash of colour. The first guests stayed in yurt Axana at the beginning of April and loved it. As with the original yurt, the new luxury glamping unit sleeps up to eight guests in a kingsize bed and two triple bunks – single over double beds. Couples may choose any unit for their wedding suite, but Axana is a favourite. All units at Barnutopia have real beds, linen, power, lights, heating and free Wi-Fi. The venue is located in the stunning Shropshire countryside on the Welsh border and yurt Axana looks out over rolling green fields.” To find out more, visit LET THE LOVE BE-GIN The Shropshire Distillery is now able to transform its custom-built distillery into a hen or stag party destination, where visitors can have fun crafting their own gins. The gin can even be produced in miniature bottles as party favours for the big day. The distillery is run by husband-and-wife team, Emma and Gareth Glynn, whose shared love of gin was the inspiration to launch the business four years ago. Emma tells us: “Our gin school has been going strong since it opened last year. We’ve been inundated with happy gin students, and are proud to be rated five stars. We would love to start welcoming hen parties or stag dos, looking to do something memorable to celebrate the occasion. They will have exclusive access of the distillery where they will learn about the history of gin, and have fun creating their own spirits, whilst sampling some tasty tipples. There’s something really special about creating gin for one of the most important days of your lives. We store each recipe on file to be ordered again for future gifts and wedding anniversaries.” Head over to for more information. Nearlywed CONGRATULATIONS! Based in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, hairdressing salon, BLACC + BLOND, are finalists at this year’s Salon Business Awards in the Green Salon of the Year category. Anil Salhan, the owner of the BLACC + BLOND salon, commented: “To win the Green Salon of the Year category at this year’s Salon Business Awards would be an incredible achievement. We launched our ‘Green is the new Blacc’ campaign on World Earth Day last year and since then, we have been continuously researching new avenues to become more environmentally friendly, with the aim to be one of the most sustainable hair salons in the UK. Winning this award would show that our efforts truly have not gone unnoticed and would help us shout further about what we do, with the hope that many other salons and businesses will follow and do their part to make the world a better place.” For more information, visit Picture by Katrina Boydon NEW VENUE ALERT! Bennetts Willow Barn is a new wedding venue situated on a working dairy farm surrounded by grazing fields and a charming lake. The exterior boasts beautiful flowers throughout the year, picturesque log walls, fairylights, willow trees and a firepit. Outdoor ceremonies are very popular, but couples can choose to run the day how they want, holding ceremonies outside in the gardens, in the yurt marquee or barn. The 20m long yurt marquee is full of rustic charm. If couples hire the yurt marquee, they will have exclusive use of the adjacent gardens, including the firepit and outdoor space for garden games or even a bouncy castle. To celebrate the venue’s launch, the team at Bennetts Willow Barn will be hosting a wedding fair on 25th September, 2022. Couples are invited to come visit the space and see first-hand why it’s perfect for weddings. Check out for more information. NEWS LOCAL NEWS 9

SARAH GALLIVAN ENJOYS A DAY OF LUXURY AT MODDERSHALL OAKS COUNTRY SPA RETREAT Set in 72 acres of private Staffordshire countryside, Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat is a luxurious getaway that has it all. From its firstclass indoor and outdoor spa facilities and treatments, lakeside dining in the newly-refurbished restaurant and drinks overlooking the surrounding woodland, to its five-star boutique suites, on-site wellness centre and stunning spaces in which to tie the knot. TIME OUT I went along with my mum to enjoy a Tranquillity Spa Day and to explore this gorgeous venue and we were in for a treat. We were greeted with a warm welcome by the friendly team and given a tour of the facilities. The outdoor spa area was my favourite, and we spent a lot of our day there! We started with a visit to the Kelo pine sauna, followed by a dip in the 25sqm vitality spa pool overlooking the surrounding countryside and sampled numerous coffees, hot chocolates and nibbles from the Deli huddled around the outdoor fireplace. On a warm day, the sun loungers would be perfect for catching the rays. It rained while we were there but the seating areas around the pool were undercover and with our fluffy robes, it made for a cosy experience. Indoors, the spa boasts a swimming pool, steam room, hydrotherapy pool, heated loungers, reflexology footbaths and an experience shower, all of which leave you feeling invigorated. For the ultimate time out, the tranquil Sleep Lounge is the place to be with its comfortable loungers and seating, no mobile phones allowed and mood lighting. As part of the spa day experience, we also had an Enlighten Signature Massage – 50 minutes of pure bliss! If you’re feeling stressed in the runup to your day, you won’t be after this full body and scalp massage. A delicious two-course lunch was served in the newly-refurbished restaurant, The Oak House. We sat in a gorgeous booth, overlooking the lake and enjoyed the food on offer – featuring local produce the menus provide a modern take on classic dishes. TIE THE KNOT Couples can book a spa day with their wedding party the day before the wedding and on the morning of the big day, you can hire the venue’s Blush Lounge for all your hair and make-up needs. What’s more, after saying ‘I do’, you can stay the night in a luxury suite and enjoy a day of pampering the following day as newlyweds. There are two options in which to host your day here, both accommodating 130 daytime guests and 175 for the evening. The lakeside wedding space is a favourite and comprises of an oak gazebo overlooking the lake, Astro-turfed seating areas and beautifully landscaped gardens. The indoor ceremony room is just as stunning, and because we can’t trust the good-old English weather, even if you choose an outdoor wedding, the indoor space is set up just in case of a lastminute downpour! BOOK IT When you’re choosing your venue, the surroundings and facilities are the main things that you’ll consider, but I was so impressed with the level of service here too. The team all genuinely love what they do and it’s that that’ll make your day all the more special and memorable. Check out to find out more and to book a tour. 10

ENTER ONLINE AT WWW.YOURWESTMIDLANDS.WEDDING Closing date is 5th August, 2022, unless otherwise stated. WIN AN OVERNIGHT STAY WITH SPA TREATMENTS Take advantage of these gorgeous giveaways and fab offers Freebies &OFFERS Helping children around the world escape poverty and find education, Vurchoo has launched Studs of Hope: an evergreen collection of unique and affordable earrings that represent and donate to the country they are inspired by. Beautifully and individually designed, the pieces are first and foremost an accessible way to help those in need but are also made to be delicately desirable and effortlessly fashionable. Comprised of gold, silver and mixed metals as well as ethically sourced gemstones, Studs of Hope brings ethical jewellery to the masses for only £40 per pair – proving it doesn’t need to cost the earth to make a difference. Vurchoo are giving one lucky bride the chance to win three pairs of the Gold Feather Studs for each of the bridesmaids. Check out THE GIFT OF GIVING Nestled in the lush, peaceful Warwickshire countryside, Stratford Manor Hotel & Spa offers the perfect place to take time out from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and relax. Your wellbeing comes first during your stay in this modern luxurious spa hotel. Only three miles from the bustling sights of Stratford-Upon-Avon, Stratford Manor Hotel & Spa lies in the heart of Shakespeare country, offering you the classic beauty of the bard and the chance to immerse yourself in one of the UK’s most historic towns. With rooms big and small, Stratford Manor Hotel & Spa is a stunning space for a small and intimate wedding or a large celebration with friends and family. The contemporary décor and amenities have everything you need during your stay, offering style and comfort at every turn. Whether you’re craving solo pampering or want to indulge with your nearest and dearest, you’ll have a haven of rest and relaxation where self-care and indulgence are the only things on your to-do list. From facials that leave your skin glowing to massages and full-body treatments that soothe you from head to toe, the expert treatments will leave you relaxed, refreshed and revitalised. We’ve teamed up with Stratford Manor Hotel & Spa to offer one lucky reader a luxurious one night stay with breakfast, a two-course dinner and a spa treatment for two people. Terms and conditions apply. Please see our website for details. To find out more about Stratford Manor Hotel & Spa, visit FREEBIES & OFFERS 11

Everything from wedding favours, seat covers and sashes to full packages that cover all your requirements please call for information or to arrange your free consultation. T:    /    | E:

Spotlight on... MOOR HALL HOTEL & SPA, B75 6LN 0121 308 3751 | Set at the end of a long tree-lined drive is country house hotel, Moor Hall Hotel & Spa. Inside is a modern and relaxing spa with an indoor pool with a spa bath, a sauna and steam room, a refurbished gym and four rooms that can be used for pre-wedding treatments. Outside is a sunken garden with a double-stone staircase, fountain feature, Victorian grottos, sweeping lawns and natural woodlands. The venue has a new wedding preparation suite that’s ideal for the happy couple as they prepare for their big day. The room has a double bed and sofa bed, large mirrors with lots of lighting and plenty of dressing table space for a make-up artist. There’s also a connecting room so the wedding party can sleep over too. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The Charter Suite is an elegant and spacious room on the ground floor with direct access from the car park, a separate bar and views of the gardens. It can cater for up to 180 guests for the service and breakfast and 250 for the evening reception. Alternatively, The Bracebridge Room and Longmoor Room are located on the first floor and can each hold up to 60 loved ones. Receptions are held in either The Charter Suite or The Oak Room Restaurant, both offer sweeping views over the surrounding parkland and can accommodate 60 nearest and dearest. WE LOVE... Moor Hall Hotel & Spa offers couples an overnight stay on the night of the wedding and a menu tasting. SUTTON COLDFIELD, LICHFIELD, TAMWORTH & NORTH BIRMINGHAM REGIONAL VENUES 13

BILSTON BROOK WEDDING BARN LTD, WS13 8HY 07597 377 452 | Bilston Brook Wedding Barn Ltd is located one mile from the stunning cathedral city of Lichfield and near the area of countryside known as Cannock Chase. The property has been a working farm for more than 100 years and has the Bilston Brook river running nearby. There is a large seating area with benches looking onto views of open fields, perfect for garden games or a barbecue. The barn offers a bespoke wedding experience, with a newly-furnished interior, hand-fired panelled walls with a bar, festoon lighting, a separate ceremony barn, new toilets, and a bridal room. The venue has lots of charm and requires very little decoration, however, couples can let their imaginations run wild and embellish the barn to suit their tastes. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The Main Barn is 90ft by 45ft and can easily hold up to 120 seated guests during the day and 150 in the evening. The space also lends itself to more intimate weddings. Post-vows, the adjoining Ceremony Barn can be hired in addition to the Main Barn which seats 100 friends and family and matches the rustic décor with festoon lighting. WE LOVE... Couples will love the converted barn used as accommodation, three-day hire and the friendly and welcoming wedding team. SHUSTOKE FARM BARNS, B46 2BL 01675 620 620 | Situated just outside Coleshill, Shustoke Barn is an 18th-century red brick barn set around a private courtyard. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The ceremony and wedding breakfast all take place in the main barn throughout the day which is then transformed for the evening reception. Boasting a timber ceiling, flagstone floors, oak beams and floor-to-ceiling windows that let in plenty of natural light. The colour-changing LED lights and rustic iron candle chandeliers are available to help incorporate a particular colour scheme or set the mood for dancing. The space can accommodate 140 guests for the service and 200 for the evening celebration. The courtyard has three beautiful olive trees, all boarded with benches for seating. Spotlights on each tree and the three rustic firepits provide light and warmth for evening activities. The barbecue is placed within the courtyard; whilst the reception takes place, guests can see all the flames and meat being cooked, creating the most amazing smells. WE LOVE... The venue’s secluded grounds and the courtyard provides a perfect space for taking photographs. 14

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WWW.BLITHFIELDLAKESIDEBARNS.CO.UK | Instagram & Facebook @blithfieldlakesidebarns RODBASTON HALL - YOUR PERFECT WEDDING VENUE Located in a stunning 180-hectare rural estate in Penkridge, the beautifully restored 19th century Rodbaston Hall is the perfect venue for your special event. With a reputation as Staffordshire’s hidden gem, you will enjoy a bespoke service, elegant banqueting suites, tranquil gardens and beautiful lakeside views. This charming venue is the perfect place for you and your guests to enjoy your special day. We understand the importance of turning your dream wedding day into a reality, so our dedicated wedding team, will help to create a truly magical day for you to treasure forever. Contact us today to arrange a viewing of this stunning venue and to find out more information. EVENTS@RODBASTONHALL.CO.UK | RODBASTON HALL, PENKRIDGE, STAFFORDSHIRE, ST19 5PH | RODBASTONHALL.CO.UK

TAMWORTH CASTLE, B79 7NA 01827 709 551 | Set within acres of beautiful grounds on top of a motte is the grand Tamworth Castle. With almost 1,000 years of rich history, there are plenty of places to explore, including the floral terraces that drop down to the banks of the River Anker and the ancient Tudor and Jacobean walls that bring a romantic and intimate feeling to any occasion. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The Great Hall has candelabra and chandeliers that create a twinkling glow and bring the room to life. The magnificent oak timbered roof and decorated lead windows create a stunning backdrop for exchanging vows and sets the scene for the rest of the day. This space has been wowing visitors for 100s of years and looks wonderful in photographs. After the ceremony, couples can head to the courtyard to mingle with guests while the photographer gets to work snapping those all-important memories. The bandstand in the castle’s grounds provides a breathtaking backdrop and is worth taking a few minutes to visit. WE LOVE... Tamworth Castle can work with its sister site, Tamworth Assembly Rooms, to create a bespoke menu and reception venue for weddings. THORPE GARDEN, B79 0LH 01827 210 999 | Situated just a few miles from Tamworth, Thorpe Garden is a handcrafted wooden yurt and contemporary ceremony room in a beautiful walled garden. The property has on-site accommodation in the boutique guesthouse, which can sleep up to 42 guests, and 21 have en-suite guest rooms, including a honeymoon suite and 16 double bedrooms. CELEBRATE IN STYLE Thorpe Garden’s handcrafted wooden yurt has a sloping roof and glass doors that open onto the terrace with impressive views of the gardens. This space can hold 140 guests for the service and 200 for the evening celebration. The contemporary ceremony room can also hold 140 loved ones for the service and 120 for the meal. Outdoor ceremonies take place in the Summer House with up to 140 friends and family. The open plan kitchen provides all the entertainment with a big rotisserie and grills surrounded by glass windows so the cooking can be seen from all angles. The courtyard is perfect for an outside reception with plenty of seating, big umbrella hornbeam trees lit by spotlights, and beds of flowers. Once nightfall comes, the firepits and flairs warm up the area, encouraging evening activities such as sparkler photographs. WE LOVE... The gardener’s cottage is available to use on the morning of the wedding, providing a quiet and relaxing space to get ready for the special day. Benjamin Edwards Photography 17 REGIONAL VENUES

Bird Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire WS13 6PR 01543 414822 Set in the heart of historic Lichfield, The George Hotel is a charming 18th century coaching inn which offers a delightful setting for civil ceremonies and wedding receptions of up to 110 guests. Our All Inclusive Wedding Package starts at £3,750 in 2022 and £4,000 in 2023 and includes a welcome drink, a three course meal with a glass of sparkling wine for the toasts, an evening finger buffet, room hire, complimentary overnight stay for the couple and much more! Based on 50 adult day guests and 80 adult evening guests. Sunday 26th June 11am to 2pm | Free Entry Unique. Bespoke. Original. Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings has character –filled grounds, historic buildings and views over the beautiful Worcestershire scenery, the Museum is truly unique and romantic setting for your wedding. Get in touch... Please get in touch with our team to find out about availability, arrange a viewing, make a booking, or if you have any questions or queries. Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings Stoke Heath Bromsgrove B60 4JR T : 01527 831 363 E : Get in touch... Please get in touch with our team to find out about availability, arrange a viewing, make a booking, or if you have any questions or queries. Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings Stoke Heath Bromsgrove B60 4JR T : 01527 831 363 E : racter –filled grounds, Worcestershire scenery, ng for your wedding. Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings has character-filled grounds, historic buildings and views over the Worcestershire scenery, the museum is truly a unique and romantic setting for your wedding. Get in touch... Please get in touch with our team to find out about availability, arrange a viewing, make a booking or if you have any questions or queries. Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings Stock Heath, Bromsgrove, B60 4JR T: 01527 831 363 E:

WESTON HALL, ST18 0HS 01889 271 082 Weston Hall is situated high on a hill and is surrounded by 20 acres of stunning Staffordshire countryside. The Grade II listed property has four large pitched roofs, a grand exterior and the main hall retains many of its Elizabethan features, including open stone fireplaces and oak beams. The space is ideal for private, corporate or wedding events with charming original features combined with a elegant décor and custom design. CELEBRATE IN STYLE There are two spaces available for weddings: The Shrewsbury has mullioned windows and an original stone fireplace, while The Westminster encompasses two stone fireplaces and has oak beams throughout. Both can accommodate 110 friends and family throughout the day. Outdoor weddings are held in the grounds, with Weston Hall creating a breathtaking backdrop. WE LOVE... The happy couple will be treated to a complimentary menu tasting before the big day. Once upon a time Tie the knot in a historic venue THEMED VENUES 19

ERASMUS DARWIN HOUSE, WS13 7AD 01543 306 260 | Nestled in Lichfield’s idyllic Cathedral Close, Erasmus Darwin House is an independent, accredited museum that was once the family home of doctor, inventor and published poet Erasmus Darwin. This stunning Grade I listed Georgian house is a stone’s throw away from Lichfield Cathedral and previously served as a residence for cathedral officials. When Darwin moved here in 1758, the building would have looked more like the timbered buildings that still surround it. Darwin added the fine façade and reoriented the house to face Beacon Street rather than into the Close. You can still see elements of the Medieval structure that developed into this home, such as the thick walls surrounding the cathedral. In 2009 refurbishment of the two main exhibition rooms took place and again in 2013, major changes were made to the Inventions Room, bringing the thoughts and inventions from Erasmus Darwin’s fascinating Commonplace Book off the page. CELEBRATE IN STYLE Civil ceremonies usually last no more than 20 minutes, therefore rooms at Erasmus Darwin House are booked on a three-hourly basis with space for up to 30 guests. A combination of rooms can be used for the reception or couples can hire the townhouse exclusively for up to 40 friends and family. WE LOVE... The venue’s rich history and the fact it is a registered charity. LILLESHALL HOUSE AND GARDENS, TF10 9AT 01952 603 003 | Lilleshall House and Gardens is a grand wedding venue in the Shropshire countryside that was originally the home and hunting lodge of the Duke of Sutherland. Built in 1831, the property overlooks the Grade II listed Capability Brown-inspired gardens and offers plenty of places to take photographs, including the Golden Gates, which are the exact replicas of those adorning Buckingham Palace. This stately heritage site boasts historical features with oak-panelled walls in the reception area, original fireplaces and decorative ceilings in the 29 newly-refurbished bedrooms. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The Duke of Sutherland Room is a traditional oak-panelled space that was formerly the dining room of the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland. Boasting a feature fireplace and bay windows, it can accommodate 60 nearest and dearest. After the ceremony, receptions are held in Chapters, the Duke of Sutherland’s former library, which boasts oak-panelled walls and a fireplace. WE LOVE... The bridal suite is available on the night of the wedding, and loved ones can relax in one of the luxurious bedrooms. 20

Moor Hall Drive, Four Oaks, Sutton Coldfield B75 6LN 0121 308 3751 Moor Hall Hotel & Spa is a 4* country house hotel, full of character and set in beautiful grounds. Our family-owned venue is the perfect venue for your civil ceremony, outdoor wedding and wedding reception for up to 180 guests. Book your 2022 wedding for just £5,500! Our All Inclusive Wedding Package is available on selected dates and includes Buck’s Fizz on arrival, a four course meal with half a bottle of wine per person, a glass of sparkling wine for the toasts, an evening finger buffet, room hire, complimentary overnight stay for the couple and much more! Based on 50 day adult guests and an additional 30 evening guests. Additional day guests are charged at £99 per person. Sunday 17th July 2022 Free Entry | 11am to 2pm Come and see our stunning suite dressed for a wedding reception and civil ceremony and our sunken garden set for an outdoor ceremony. LOCATED IN THE HEART OF THE STAFFORDSHIRE COUNTRYSIDE 20 ACRES OF BREATHTAKING SCENERY • ORIGINAL ELIZABETHAN FEATURES • 8 LAVISH BEDROOMS • INDOOR AND OUTDOOR CEREMONY AND RECEPTION SPACES WESTON-HALL .CO.UK | 01889 271082 | ENQUIRIES@WESTON-HALL .CO.UK WILL FULLER PHOTOGRAPHY scan to see our menu pack wedding packages from £4000.00 scan to see our wedding brochure

WARWICK HOUSE, CV47 0HN 01926 815 738 | The Grade II listed Warwick House is located within acres of glorious gardens and boasts an abundance of trees, cherry blossoms, feathery pines and statement windows. This exclusive use 19th-century property perfectly combines contemporary and traditional architecture with red carpets, chandeliers and muted tones throughout. Those looking to stay the night will love the 16 guest bedrooms and luxurious honeymoon suite. CELEBRATE IN STYLE The Warwick Room is the venue’s smallest space. It’s a sophisticated area used for civil ceremonies and wedding breakfasts of up to 60 people. Surrounded by windows that overlook the terrace, the light and airy Banqueting Hall is decorated with soft fairylights, a bar, a dancefloor and can accommodate 150 loved ones. Couples can enjoy the grounds and terrace with 150 nearest and dearest, or tie the knot underneath the gazebo. Canapés and drinks take place in the Regency Room with up to 60 friends and family. WE LOVE... The luxurious honeymoon suite, complete with a lavish four-poster bed and Jacuzzi, is included in all wedding packages. Also check out... BANTOCK HOUSE MUSEUM AND PARK, WV3 9LQ 01902 556 245 | Bantock House Museum and Park is an Edwardian house situated within 43 acres of parkland and formal gardens and is just 10 minutes from the centre of Wolverhampton. Designed and built by the former owners, this historical property includes a Dutch garden, a rock garden and a rose garden, all of which look wonderful in photographs. DOVECLIFF HALL HOTEL, DE13 0DJ 01283 531 818 | The Dovecliff Hall Hotel is a Grade II listed property in Staffordshire. Defined by its eye-catching Georgian architecture, scenic gardens and guest rooms, this manor house is ideal for soon-to-be newlyweds who adore a classic style. Guests are bound to fall in love with its old English charm, complete with 15 refurbished bedrooms, all of which have kingsize beds and luxury bed linen. MACDONALD ANSTY HALL, CV7 9HZ 02476 612 222 | Situated within eight acres of private grounds, featuring magnificent views of the surrounding Warwickshire countryside, is Macdonald Ansty Hall. This 17th-century Georgian house has original features, including a staircase, high ceilings, open fireplaces and 62 bedrooms. The function rooms feature stunning views of the landscaped gardens, and St James Church, that’s set behind the hotel, is within easy walking distance. SWINFEN HALL HOTEL, WS14 9RE 01543 481 494 | Swinfen Hall Hotel is an elegant Georgian manor house with a mixture of old and new styles. Set at the end of a sweeping drive, the property stands proudly amongst 100 acres of gardens and parklands and boasts a private deer park, ornamental ponds, a Victorian walled garden, a courtyard garden complete with a bar and a luxury marquee. BOURTON HALL, CV23 9QZ 01926 940 900 | Bourton Hall is an Italianate mansion set within 15 acres of lawns, gardens and woodland. Offering extensive views across Warwickshire’s countryside, the property has all the charm, elegance and grandeur needed to create the perfect wedding. Outside is a sandstone ashlar, a romantic balcony, and two large three-story canted bays that give the notion of a fairytale castle. ETTINGTON PARK HOTEL, CV37 8BU 01789 450 123 | Boasting historic architecture, wondrous ceilings, ornate chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling windows, Ettington Park Hotel is a beautiful backdrop for any celebration. Located within 40 acres of parkland in a verdant valley with the River Stour meandering through, there are plenty of places to explore and take photographs including the impressive turrets, neoGothic brickwork, classic arched windows and on-site Norman church. 23 THEMED VENUES

SANDON HALL Exclusive Country House Wedding Venue Staffordshire 01889 508004

Step into spring Rebecca and Huw had a seasonal wedding at Sandon Hall Images courtesy of Emily Robinson Photography Rebecca and Huw met during their first year of university. “On our first night out, I tried to buy Huw a drink and was very disappointed to find that he only wanted a Coke,” says Rebecca. “Needless to say, things went well and we’ve remained joined at the hip ever since. We were surprised to find that our families only lived 20 miles from each other and we had friends in common despite having never met! Huw’s sense of humour and charm had me hooked from the get-go. He very quickly became my best friend – he was always there when I needed him, he made me feel safe and he could always be relied upon to make me smile, even when I didn’t feel like it.” Huw asked Rebecca to be his wife during a trip to Swansea. “Huw asked if I fancied going away to York for a romantic weekend away,” shares the bride. “Annoyingly for Huw, who had a whole plan in his head about where we would go and how it would happen, I said that I didn’t feel like going to York and that I wanted to go to the beach. Huw then whisked me away to the Gower in Swansea – a special place for the two of us as it was where Huw’s family spent a lot of their time and where we had spent a weekend away five years prior. I thought that it was strange that Huw suggested taking badminton rackets and a rucksack down to the beach, which was unheard of as I’m the designated activity planner and bagcarrier in the relationship. I was non-the-wiser and counted my lucky stars that I could wander freely across the beach while Huw hid the ring inside the rucksack. It was there on the beach that Huw got down on one knee and asked the all-important question. After a lot of crying, I said yes!” Here the bride shares some of her favourite moments from their big day... REAL WEDDINGS 25

Sandon Hall was absolutely glorious! We had seen it over Zoom ,and when we were able to go see it in person, the weather was perfect and the venue just shone. From the beautiful historical features to the gorgeous grounds and the wonderfully helpful staff, we were absolutely blown away. Our centrepieces were glass vases filled with fresh flowers and numerous tealights. These were carefully placed around 19thcentury books that we purchased from a range of charity shops. I have a love and respect for reading and liked that we incorporated a little nod to this in the day. Dean Sharpe’s Floral Studio provided our flowers. We wanted lots of fresh colours to symbolise the start of spring. We had alstroemeria, calla lillies, eustoma, gypsophila, lathyrus, delphiniums and stock. All of these were cream, lilac and sage. We also had lots of lovely eucalyptus and asparagus fern as foliage on the tables and down the staircase. We wanted the whole theme to feel fresh and spring-like. The small personal touches were incredibly important to us as we wanted to give a nod to our local suppliers and guests. My mum helped handmake the favours. They were personalised wine-glass charms with our guests’ initials engraved into them. My mum runs the most amazing eco-printing business, where she uses leaves and foliage to create gorgeous prints. She designed our invitations and order-of-service using flowers that belonged to my grandma, so it was personal and special to us. Emma’s Cake Design provided the most amazing cake. It was elegantly iced with an initialled middle tier. The flavours were red velvet, vanilla sponge and strawberry and prosecco. 26

We felt incredibly excited on the morning of the wedding and I couldn’t wait to finally marry my best friend. Our favourite part was saying our vows to one another in the church. We also loved coming down the staircase in a shower of bubbles. We placed disposable cameras on each table. My mum also carefully placed some letters onto glass beads to create an anagram game for in-between the courses. A few packs were placed on each table and people were tasked with trying to unscramble the letters to create the word. I wore an Oleg Cassini dress from David’s Bridal. It was beautifully timeless and elegant, and I felt amazing in it. I accessorised with a gold bracelet from Huw and my grandmother’s pearl earrings. Huw chose navy blue tails with a silver waistcoat and a lilac cravat from Swarbricks. The bridesmaids opted for simple lilac flowing dresses with angel sleeves from David’s Bridal. To keep our guests entertained, we had a wonderful band called the Jukebox Jets. They played 50s and 60s rock and roll and they had all of our guests dancing. For our reception, we created a playlist of our favourite love songs from the last 10 years. REAL WEDDINGS 27

REBECCA AND HUW’S CONTACTS Venue, Sandon Hall, | Photographer, Emily Robinson Photography, Videographer, Bowness Film, | Bride’s and bridesmaids’ dresses, David’s Bridal, | Dress alterations, The Humblebee Dressmaking, | Groom’s suit, Swarbricks, | Hair stylist, Mitchell Simpkin - Hair, | Make-up artist, Helen Willis Make Up, | Cake, Emma’s Cake Design, | Flowers, Dean Sharpe’s Floral Studio, | Stationery, Maggie Lesley, and The Benhill Press Ltd, 01889 583 240 | Catering, Vanilla In Allseasons, | Entertainment, Jukebox Jets, Laura at Sandon Hall was an amazing support on our wedding day and throughout the planning process. She ensured that everything ran smoothly and nothing was too much trouble. I’d go back just to spend time with her because she was fab! For our honeymoon, we went to the Maldives for 10 days and it was absolute perfection. We stayed in a water villa overlooking the ocean and got to look out at the crystal clear waters each morning. Who would draw the curtains in a place like that? We snorkelled, kayaked and sunbathed, drank piña coladas and watched the sunset on the beach every night. Emily Robinson Photography and Bowness Film were so professional and we felt like we were models on a shoot – not the awkward couple that doesn’t enjoy having their photos taken. Our best piece of advice for any couple about to tie the knot is to write a list of things for your bridesmaids and groomsmen to do. They would appreciate a heads up so that they’re prepared. Also, come up with a list of all of the people that you would like to have photographs with so your photographer is ready. Give this list to your maid-ofhonour/sibling so that they can help fetch people. 28

West Midlands’ Award Winning Florists 01743 792333 AnneWhysallFlorists AnneWhysallFlorist Photography: @kimshawphotography Bridal wear: @jessicasbridalshrewsbury Menswear: @peterposhsuits Bridesmaid: @perlacocodesigns Florist: @annewhysallflorists Hair: @elegance_hair_design MUA: @emily.mulan.makeupartist 01384 877572 07711 128572 Helen Barley Harp Helen Barley Harpist and Singer And so the adventure begins.... | 01684 574546 | Situated within an area of natural beauty, Bell Heath is the perfect location for a private country wedding that you can truly make your own.

A DAY dreamy Catherine and Chris tied the knot surrounded by friends and family at Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat Images courtesy of James Merrick Photography 30

Catherine and Chris met at school. “Chris is a year older, so we didn’t know each other, but we got talking on MSN and MySpace,” says Catherine. “We hit it off straight away due to our shared sense of humour and love of watching movies.” Chris popped the question during a holiday to Somerset. “We had always talked about getting married, and although we weren’t officially engaged, we had discussed 2022 as a potential date,” shares the bride. “I was at university until 2021, so we always talked about getting engaged after that. I was surprised when he popped the question during a holiday in 2020. We booked the trip for my birthday and spent the week in a lodge near the town of Wells. We went for a walk to Ebbor Gorge, and overlooking the beautiful scenery, Chris got down on one knee!” SETTING THE SCENE “We wanted a venue that was both elegant and modern,” explains Catherine. “We love spa days and had not been to Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat before but had heard it was excellent. When we visited the property, we thought it was stunning and the lake was breathtaking. We fell in love and decided to book it straight away.” The couple gave their guests scratch cards as favours. “We placed them in personalised holders from Etsy,” adds the bride. “We also had pick n mix sweets on the tables.” “All of the signs were from Mally’s Crafts,” reveals Catherine. “For the table numbers, Chris’ mum placed fairylights inside wine bottles.” Catherine and Chris opted for flowers from April Days Design. “We had white and blush pink roses with eucalyptus and other foliage,” recalls the bride. “We decorated the venue with pink napkins, fairylights, pink voile on the chairs and cake table, lanterns and a post box. The colour of the LED ceiling lights in the venue were personalised to match our theme. Our event planner helped us choose colours to match, and we had one setting for the day and one for the evening.” “We chose a two-tiered cake with white icing from Loren’s Cakes and Bakes,” says Catherine. “We opted for a cherry and almond and salted caramel filling and had an acyclic sign next to it with the flavours on.” The catering was provided by Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat. “We had canapés during the drinks reception,” shares the bride. “We selected pork belly, tomato and goats cheese tartlets and mini cheeseburgers, which were a big hit with our friends and family. For the wedding breakfast, we had a three-course meal. We were allowed to give our guests two different options for each course.” DRESSED TO IMPRESS “My dress was a Jennifer Wren gown from Katie’s Brides,” explains Catherine. “I fell in love with it on Pinterest and found where it was stocked. I always knew the kind of wedding dress I wanted, so I didn’t try on many different styles.” Chris wore a three-piece suit from Marc Darcy, which he bought through Suit Direct. “The suit was called Dion,” adds the bride. “Chris, the best man, his dad and my brother all wore the same. They had Marc Darcy ties in the same pink colour and pocket squares from JJ’s House, who supplied the bridesmaids’ dresses, so they were a perfect match. The girls’ gowns were an A-line floor-length chiffon design in dusky rose.” TIME TO CELEBRATE “We hired a caricaturist, DJ and saxophone player,” recalls Catherine. “Everyone had a great time and especially enjoyed the caricaturist as it was something a bit different. We also had sparklers which we organised ourselves.” REAL WEDDINGS 31

G E O R G I N AMA I PHO T OG R A PH Y . CO . U K | 07912 112777 georginamaiphotography C O N T A C T t: 01905 391 347 e: & Making Memories Creating Magic

MEMORABLE MOMENTS “We were overjoyed with how the day turned out,” says the bride. “The weather was stunning, and we felt so lucky. Everything went even better than we imagined! Chris was really looking forward to the ceremony, whereas I was so nervous and felt relieved when it was finished. Chris was mostly nervous about the speeches and properly relaxed after that part.” The couple’s family and friends helped make their big day perfect. “Having my younger brother walk me down the aisle was one of my favourite moments,” shares Catherine. “Chris’ cousin, Steph, did a reading for us during the ceremony, and it was so beautiful. One of our friends, Roz, was also particularly helpful on the morning of the wedding and helped put me at ease.” HONEYMOON “We went to Sri Lanka for two weeks,” explains the bride. “We planned it together, using an independent travel agent. The honeymoon was amazing, it was a jam-packed first week with long days of excursions, but the second week was slower paced with much needed relaxation. We met a few other couples on their honeymoon whilst we were there too! We would definitely recommend Sri Lanka as a honeymoon destination, especially if you enjoy wildlife, exploring and learning about different cultures.” TOP TIPS “Our top planning tip would be to organise everything well in advance if you can,” reveals Catherine. “I did this, and honestly, I wasn’t stressed in the slightest in the weeks before the big day because I had already sorted everything. On the day, take a moment by yourself to soak it all in. See all of your hard work and planning come to life, watch your guests having a great time, take a look at your new husband/wife and see them enjoying the best day of their life and don’t forget to take a moment just the two of you!” 33 REAL WEDDINGS